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Analyse how Stevenson uses setting atmosphere and characters to help the reader interpret a sense of danger, threat and horror.

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Introduction

Analyse how Stevenson uses setting atmosphere and characters to help the reader interpret a sense of danger, threat and horror. The story of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was written in the Victorian times. The Author of this book was Robert Louis Stevenson. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde originated from a dream that Robert Louis Stevenson once had. Upon waking he recalled 'a fine bogey tale' and immediately set about writing it down. When Robert Louis Stevenson had completed writing the book, he showed his wife who said that the novel lacked allegory this meant that the story didn't have enough 'Good against Evil' this enraged Stevenson who threw it into the fire and started again. He wrote for 6 days non stop and recreated a better and improved version. Laudanum was a wildly popular drug during the Victorian era. It was an opium-based painkiller prescribed for everything from headaches to tuberculosis. Victorian nursemaids even spoon fed the drug to cranky infants, often leading to the untimely deaths of their charges. Originally, Laudanum was thought of as a drug of the working class. As it was cheaper than gin it was not uncommon for men and woman to binge on laudanum after a hard week's work. Use of the drug spread rapidly. Doctors of the time prescribed it for almost every aliment. ...read more.

Middle

This is the point when the reader is first told about the evil Mr. Hyde hidden in the novel. By setting the story at a particular time, the narrator is increasing the sense of foreboding and fear. His curious comment about 'the end of the world' introduces the supernatural other-worldly theme of the novel. Setting our first encounter with Mr. Hyde in daylight might have been less effective. Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is set in Victorian London, when Stevenson was alive. Contemporary readers would have been interested in the setting because the novel would reflect in some way the society in which they lived. More importantly, society in Victorian times was deeply divided between the slums of the poor, who struggled to exist and the lavish lifestyles of the rich. This divide in society is useful for an author exploring the divided psychology of the self. Narrative structure is particularly important in novels. In Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson uses a number of narratives to build up a sense of mystery and suspense. Contemporary Victorian readers would have read Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a mystery story, wondering throughout about the connection between the two men. The narrative point of view here is crucial in revealing the truth. The story opens with a third person narrative. We are told about Mr Utterson; his personality, lifestyle and qualities. ...read more.

Conclusion

I found that the part of the story containing the most suspense was when Jekyll had locked himself in his room. Stevenson describes what goes on in this extract. But the words were hardly uttered, before the smile was struck out of his face and succeeded by an expression of such abject terror and despair, as froze the very blood of the two gentlemen below. They saw it but for a glimpse, for the window was instantly thrust down; but that glimpse, had been sufficient, and they turned and left the court without a word. In silence, too they traversed the by street; and it was not until they had come into a neighbouring thoroughfare, where even upon a Sunday there were still some stirrings of life, that Mr Utterson at last turned and looked at his companion. They were both pale; and there was an answering horror in their eyes God forgive us! God forgive us! This creates a very strong and shocking image in the readers mind and builds up the suspense. The reader wants to know what caused Dr Jekyll to react in such horror as it obviously disturbed Enfield and Utterson considerably. Mr utterson is described relieved to be denied admittance into Dr Jekyll's home. Mr Utterson went on to describe Dr Jekyll's house as a," house of voluntary bondage", with an" inscrutable recluse", in which he preferred not to be admitted into. While here he is told about DrJekyll's strange confinement to his cabinet. Hasan Ehsan 10BL ...read more.

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